Speedway

Top eight spot and Elite League Champs for Chris Holder

Author: Erin Lamor

Posted:

It's been a massive few days for Rampant's Chris Holder.

The final round of the SGP series and the final leg of the British Elite League finals.

On a waterlogged night and slimy slick track in Poland Chris Holder was certainly on target to make the semis, something he would of really relished. Unfortunately for all the riders the event was called off after heat 16 for safety reasons. A smart and sensible decision.

By Chris' standards the last three or four rounds haven't gone exactly to plan for the Aussie star. But there is a notable exception this year from last year. Chris has another year of experience at this level under his belt and with some improvements on and off the track, he hasn't suffered "burn out" to the same extent as last season. It's still been a tough schedule make no mistakes.

Chris, out in heat 2 started to the meeting off like many of them recently, with a solid second place, again to the new world champion in Greg Hancock. The two are good mates and have a great liking and respect for each other. You only have to follow them both on twitter to get a sense of their shenanigans.

Heat five was not kind to Chris with a fourth place and no points. Heat ten was always going to be an interesting heat as CH and fellow Poole team mate Darcy Ward would go head to head for the second time in this series. Chris managed a third place just in front of Darcy on this occasion. With these guys being good mates, I'm sure the mateship will turn to rivalry as all the Aussie guys will be heading home to contest the 2012 Australian titles.

If all the rounds are anything like Kurri Kurri NSW was last year, it's going to be another great step in the right direction for Australian speedway. Those guys put on the best show by far, and have set the benchmark.

The track was a mess at this stage with more and more rain falling. There was a brief reprieve from the weather but it was always going to be a difficult round and a cancellation seemed more and more likely.

Off yellow and in heat fourteen Chris' night was about to go forward and in a big way. Up against a stacked gate including Gollob, Hampel and revived Chris Harris, Chris Holder was making a stand in this heat. He drew the line in the shale and went past all contenders. It was a great confidence boost for him and an even more deliberate return to form for him. It showed why Chris Holder is a crowd favourite and also why he remains well entrenched in the top 8 riders of world speedway. Chris was really only a heat win away from a semi final birth from this point. But, mother nature decided to end everyone's night, with officials declaring a result and the meeting cancelled after heat sixteen.

Greg Hancock was the star of the show, though, after winning this rain effected round on 11 points he then turned his sights to the biggest prize in world speedway as he lifted the brand new World Championship trophy ‰ÛÒ 14 years after he claimed his first gold medal at Vojens in 1997.

He was joined on the World Championship rostrum by Andreas Jonsson, who pipped third-placed Jaroslaw Hampel to the silver medal by two points.

For Chris, the next job at hand was already on his mind. Elite League return leg at Poole. The final leg of the two leg series beckoned as he would head back to the UK to take up the fight against Eastbourne at his home track of Winbourne Road.

"Monday is the big one," he said. "It's the one we've all been waiting for this year in Britain and Poole. Obviously everyone knows what happened last year.

"But the first leg at Eastbourne went really well. We kept it as tight as we could and eight points is definitely doable.

"We're looking forward to Monday. It will be a big turnout. We've got the Knockout Cup Final to come, but everyone wants to win the league. That's what we're going for."

In the Elite League, Poole pirates had been the dominant team all year no doubt, but with a host of recent injuries it was never going to be a "sure thing" for Chris and his team.

Chris rode extremely well last night. He looked consistently smooth and quick from the outset. He proved several times that smart courage far outweighs loose recklessness. Another attribute to his growing list of race smarts.

Eastbourne didn't allow Poole to have it all their own way, taking it the Pirates right up until heat fourteen. From this point Poole had secured the title after a disappointing loss to Coventry last season.

The final heat of the night, Heat fifteen, may go down in Poole history for a more sombre reason. Holder and Ward, the dynamic duo may or may not ride together again for Poole in the Elite League and the Pirate fans showed their appreciation to both riders, who had delivered so many great moments in Speedway this year. Right now I'm sure the fans are hoping the powers-that-be make a decision in their favour.

With just a few more meetings left in a long season remaining, Chris will be turning his thoughts to his beloved surf break back home and maybe some lounge time too.

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